Ever since I purchased my 1987 Vanagon Westfalia 3 years ago I've always hated camping/traveling with either of my front or rear stock tables. They always seem to get in the way and the rear long table made it difficult to open the rear vertical closet door. On my next road trip, I need access to a table top so I can edit photos and blog while on the road so it got me to reevaluate my table situation.
What I Used
- Dewalt 20-Volt Compact Right Angle Drill Kit
- Stainless Philips Pan Head Sheetmetal Screw (#8 x 1/2 Inch)
- Tekton 6580 Automatic Center Punch
- Bostitch BSA16TM 3/32-Inch Titanium Speed Tip Drill Bit
- Klein Tools 603-4 No.2 Phillips 4-Inch Screwdriver
I knew I did not want to use my stock, longer rear table in the rear so I decided to place my stock front table back there instead. It was a lot easier to get in and out of that area but it was still not perfect. I still couldn't open the rear vertical closet door.
If you're one that still uses your front table and doesn't want to relocate it, you can always source a used front table from TheSamba Classifieds.
Newer Westfalias have a shorter vertical closet door that allow them to open and swing above the table so you can have full access to that area. My '87 does not have that feature. I figure since I'm using a shorter front table, I can simply relocate the stock mounting bracket underneath the table in order to gain some more clearance.
Once I removed the main mounting plate I noticed that Westfalia used some inserts placed into the table itself. For ease of installation I plan to leave these alone and secure the plate in it's new location with new screws.
Using a Bostitch 3/32-Inch Drill Bit in my Dewalt Right Angle Drill I needed to make some sort of marker on the bit so I don't drill the hole too deep and pop out of the top side of the table. That would not be good. I placed the bit along side the edge of the table, guessed a decent hole depth and marked the surface of the table with some blue painter's tape.
The painter's tape on my drill bit now lets me know when I've drilled deep enough. Drill these holes very slowly and don't put a lot of pressure on the drill. It doesn't take much to punch all the way through so be very careful.
I plan to use some #8 x 1/2" Long Sheet Metal Screws in order to mount the plate down to the table in it's new location. These screws come in very handy regardless of what projects you're working on. I use these screws quite a bit in mounting my electronics throughout the van.
Notice the table trim seam where the trim meets. This seam on my particular setup is closest to the rear closet. So in order to gain some more clearance at the rear closet, I slid the metal mounting plate all the way to the end until it bumps up against the trim itself. Once the plate was located, I used a Sharpie in order to mark the center points of the holes. I removed the plate and used a Center Punch in order to indent the laminate so my drill bit has some place to seat into while drilling. The center punch helps keep the drill bit from wandering around just prior to breaking the surface.
Now with the mounting plate being relocated and the table back in position I can open the vertical closet door without a problem. Perfect!
Plenty of clearance. Notice the seam of the table trim, it's closest to the rear closet which is where I slid the mounting plate towards.
I think the new mounting location of plate makes the front table fit better in the rear table location. It looks way better too in my opinion. Now I'll have a table that I can blog and edit my photos on while traveling.
This was a very easy modification to do and if you're tired of messing with the longer rear table then this is a mod you should try.